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Barth Beasley – A Voice Like Tupelo Honey

Updated on November 23, 2015

If y'all ever get on down to those northern Florida wetlands you're got to try their amazingly delicious tupelo honey. Only bees who gather the pollen from the flowers of the tupelo tress can produce this mono-floral miracle. Along the Appalachia River in the Florida Panhandle many apiculturists, or what the good ole boys call beekeepers, will house their hives along the river swamps on floats during the tupelo blooming season in order to produce it as purely as possible. Since its ratio of fructose to glucose is so high it won't crystallize like many other types of honey. There are some who claim tupelo honey is the nectar of the Gods.

After the brief eight bar opening on "Run On To Detroit", Barth Beasley's gritty tenor voice tears into the first verse of this hot new single like the stinger of an angry bee. It can be as gravelly as it is velvety, yet it's always as sweet as that sought after beloved bee bi-product. Sharply enunciating each syllable of every word of the song's cryptic lyrics like a well traveled raconteur, he sings:

Barth Beasley with Ray Charles
Barth Beasley with Ray Charles

"Craig he was a friend of mine, cuttin' hair on the Westside
I don't know what happened round here, but he's down to one eye
It might have been a gun or knife, but he knows who saved his life
Lives another day, won't let it die, runs up the score for more time"

There's a certain flavor to his vocal delivery that's unmistakably Midwestern. While it can be both dark and chilly, you sense the warmth of a winter hearth flame burning through the cold night. Beasley's command of musical dynamics hits your ear like the icy gusts of wind that emanate off of Lake Erie (and he is from Michigan) in late December. In other words, it cuts right through to the bone and it's an unforgettable experienced.

"Run on to Detroit in the winter time is in his ear
He's goin' to relax and have some play time do what he feels
He says, go on and try it ‘cause you might as well do it
Its been on my mind so I'm bringin' ya'll to it
Run on to Detroit in the winter time"

This Battle Creek born and bred brother lacks nothing when it comes to range, and is just as powerful when singing from the head as he is passionate when belting it out from the body. Possessing multiple octaves he drives the song like an eighteen wheeler down a deserted highway at midnight. With well chosen precision he uses it like an otherworldly air horn to clear the road ahead.

"You'll never ever know it when your attitude will blow it
When you're doin 85 and got the poe, poe on your shoulder
I don't know what'cha want from me
As he's hittin 94 you're on the clock, baby"

Listening to those lines I'm not always sure what he's talking about, but I'm a loving the way he says it. There's a blue-collar poeticness about his words that make "Run On To Detroit" an Everyman's anthem. Almost like a certain unabashed pride about the dirt under your nails that only workingmen would understand. "Run On To Detroit" is one hell of a song and Barth Beasley is one hell of a singer. How sweet it is!

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